Head Coach Joe Judge
August 20, 2021
Q: What did you think about how your team looked on the two-minute drill at the end - offense and defense?
A: Obviously, we’re working on a lot of situational football. Today we’re going to work a lot of red area, third down. Yesterday, we got two-minute. We’ll finish with two-minute again today. These are situations that you work in practice against yourselves. It’s even better exposure and experience when you get out there against a foreign opponent and see what they do differently and then also see how you guys stack up. Obviously, it’s not the way we wanted to end practice, but that’s why we’re out here. We learn from our mistakes to get better. We see what we do well and make sure that we can adjust as coaches schematically and then as players to get out there and operate with more efficiency.
Q: What stood out when you went back and watched yesterday’s practice?
A: In terms of the team all together? Yeah, I think on both sides there was good competition. I think there was good things you saw on the fronts, offensive and defensive. I think you saw a lot of plays from both sets of skill players, our team and their team. There were some things you’ve got to clean up. Obviously, you had the preseason game. For a lot of guys this is their first competitive experience against another team. You get out there, you get a little different system and schemes against you, so there are some things you’ve got to adjust to. I thought the effort was good yesterday. I liked the way the guys came out and they competed. I thought our conditioning as a team looked good. That was an encouraging thing right there. Really, you’ve got to get a factor on that when you really start stacking up against other teams in seeing where your team is. I don’t think as a coach you ever feel fully confident in where your team is conditioning-wise until you can measure it against somebody else on a field for a duration of time. In terms of where we are, I mean look, training camp’s not what it used to be. The duration is different. The ramp up is different. You try to push your team to make sure they can stay on the field healthy and then play effectively for 60 minutes with good football position and fundamentals. That’s the key part of what we’re looking for. I thought that was a positive yesterday that showed up in our practice.
Q: It looked like your guys on the edges were getting some pressure on defense. Now, it’s hard for me to tell because when are they going to whistle it dead and whether or not guys can wriggle out of there or not, but what did you see? Did you see that there was pressure?
A: I thought there were some good things to build off. I think there were enough reps yesterday where you saw some guys flash. There were some other reps that we had to highlight to our players and say, ‘look, you have to have a counter move here or you have to anticipate that this tackle is a good player and he’s going to go ahead and adjust to you.’ Also, along with that, it’s not always just you versus the tackle, it’s are they going to leave the tight end to chip? Is the back going to give extra help? The things we have to learn to process and recognize at full speed. So, on both sides, both sets of defenses really had good work yesterday. It is difficult sometimes in these practices to see would he have made the sack? Would he have gotten the pass off? How’s it going to measure out in the two-minute drills? Me and (Browns Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) stand behind our own offenses and we rule the sacks as they come up. It’s probably the fairest way of doing it. He did a good job yesterday of kind of whistling a couple dead. I made sure I whistled one dead as well in the first one. You’re just trying to balance it out right there and be realistic about what it is. At the same time, you have to understand the parameters of practice. We’re telling our players if you come free, you stay away from the quarterback. We tell our guys, if you come free and they’re wearing a red jersey, that’s a quarterback, punter, kicker, you peel off and get away. We see it on the tape. We saw you broke on through. I don’t want a guy ducking in front of a quarterback and having a hand land on top. I don’t want someone reaching for a ball and hitting (Browns Quarterback) Baker’s (Mayfield) hand or somebody hitting (Quarterback) Daniel’s (Jones) hand. We’re going to make sure we take care of each other here.
Q: Kevin said he was close to whistling that last one dead.
A: We’ve got to make a better play as a team. No excuses on that right there. We looked at the tape of what it is. Even if he did whistle it down, we’re still going to correct anything that happened on the back end of what was going on right there. Everything’s a learning experience in anything we do. Especially at this time of the year, we’re always looking to get better. There’s not going to be any ifs and buts of how we practice. We take every experience, and we may go ahead and highlight and say, ‘hey, you got the sack here, but guess what? Down the field we made a big flaw in the coverage right here.’ We’re going to correct everything all the time.
Q: What are you going to do on Sunday with your ones?
A: I haven’t decided, yet. We’re going to see how we come out today and I’m going to talk with Kevin in terms of his plans. We’ve talked earlier in the week about what they’re intending to do and we’re going to see how that’s going to measure up and we’ll evaluate our team after today. I don’t see playing as a punishment specific to anything in terms of what a performance would dictate to us. I just want to make sure we keep our overall players’ loads in consideration going into it because it’ll also be a quick turnaround going from Cleveland, getting back home, training up to Boston and going against New England for a couple of days before playing the preseason game, through which we’re going to truly treat as more of that regular season dress rehearsal.
Q: So, have you made a decision on Daniel?
A: No, I haven’t made a decision on anybody right now.
Q: What did you think of Daniel’s practice and how did you evaluate the interception at the end?
A: Well, I think evaluating the interception is like anything else. You look at the whole scope of what he did and what the other players on the field did and you correct everything involved. Look, the reality is games come down to how you finish them, so everything counts. Everything we build on counts. We can’t dismiss anything and say, ‘that wasn’t a big deal.’ That’s not our nature as coaches. That’s not our nature as a program. We look at everything and evaluate it. However, I liked the way he competed yesterday. I thought he did a really good job handling pressure, being efficient and getting the ball out on time, throwing accurate passes, really facilitating the offense and keeping it moving in the early down situation work. I thought he did a really good job of that right there and then we’ll have another opportunity today to work in more third down, red area and two-minute at the end of practice.
Q: As far as playing him in games or not, is the fact he’s getting this competitive practice against another opponent, could that color into your decision on whether to put him in an actual game?
A: That could factor for a lot of players. That could factor for a lot of players based on what these two days look like in terms of the quality of work they got, who they’re going against and whether or not we think it’s going to be specifically beneficial for that player, or the team as a whole with building chemistry going forward for whatever the duration of the playing time would be in the game. But we’re going to factor all that in. We’re going to talk a lot about it today after practice. We’ll probably make our final decision tomorrow morning.
Q: In the past, have you felt that the second day of joint practices has more tempo and intensity?
A: I think the third day is, historically, if you go three hard practices. Now, the ones I’ve been part of, day one and day two have been what we’ve been doing right here. I think both teams had good tempo yesterday. I think both teams played controlled and had good competition against each other and also took care of each other. That’s really what the goal was. Coming out here and making sure we get good quality work and we come out here and get better as a team. In terms of the tempo or emotions or whatever that maybe you’re alluding to right there, you know, it depends on who you are and where you’re at. I’ve been parts of these practices where we’ve gone out there day one and are getting our teeth kicked in and went out there and wrote our name all over the opponent the next day. I’ve been in it the other way around, too. We’ve gone out there the first day and places I’ve been and you come out feeling like you’re the world champions and the next day, guess what? You find out the hard way that you weren’t ready for it. So again, the importance of these days of either building on success or handling adversity, that’s a good challenge for our team. This is different. It’s not Major League Baseball. It’s not the NBA. We don’t play the same teams twice in a row ever in terms of two days. So, to be able to have this unique experience of going out there and either cleaning up what you put on tape yesterday or making sure that you avoid them cleaning something up and taking advantage of you today. That’s important to see our players exploring that.
Q: Did you get out of the first practice OK, health-wise?
A: For the most part. We were very fortunate as far as getting out of it health-wise. There’s a couple of guys with some bumps and dings, natural football stuff right there. There’s going to be a couple of guys we trim back on. I’m going to check with (Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie Barnes in a little bit. There’s some guys as we left the hotel he wanted to check on and do a final run-through. We start the morning a little bit later in these deals. We don’t start till a 10 A.M. squad meeting. It gives the players plenty of time to kind of rest and catch up. But just the nature of the transportation to the facility and back, we’ve got to make sure we structure time on the back end to have film review and with an 11-hour day, we start a little bit later. Because of that, we don’t have the full injury report finalized before going to practice like we would in a normal morning.
Q: I haven’t seen (Tackle) Nate (Solder) do any team drills since last week. Is he dealing with something?
A: Nate’s with our trainers right now. He’s actually doing well, moving at a good progress. We just felt this would be a good week to kind of let him go ahead and continue with that. We expect to get him back soon. He’s had a really good camp for us. I’m really proud of the way he’s working. I’m proud of the leadership he’s giving to our team. He’s come back – obviously, we’ve talked earlier in camp about him getting back in the swing of things, like every other player. I don’t think it took him long. He jumped right back on that horse and kept on riding. As soon as we can get him back out there, we will.
Q: We talked about yesterday with (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) holding him out from the live stuff against the other team. Is that going to be the same thing next week do you think when you guys are in Foxboro?
A: I can’t answer that just yet. I don’t have an answer for you right there. This will be kind of evaluating him coming out of this week. We’ll actually get some opportunities today. We’re going to get some one-on-ones with our safeties and our tight ends, our running backs and our linebackers in practice. The intention is for Saquon, when it’s our guys, to let him work a little bit against some of our guys and get the one-one-ones and get moving with some of that stuff right there. Now, it’s all still controlled as well and then when we get to New England next week, we’ll deal with that.
Q: As you and Kevin planned this joint experience, did anything surprise you about your team or about the day yesterday?
A: I couldn’t say anything surprised me yesterday, no. There’s always things you learn. I wouldn’t say I was surprised or shocked by anything.
Q: When you go back and look at the film last night of how your offensive line performed, obviously we had a ton of questions for you out of the preseason game. What did you see from those guys working together on the front both in one-on-ones and in team?
A: I think working against a very talented front like they have, obviously it was a great challenge. I thought I saw a lot of positive things. I saw a lot of good things in the run game and the pass game. There was obviously things that we’ve got to clean up as well. Now, some of that stuff is just through communication on the line of scrimmage and making sure we’re all having the right guy, and some of that stuff is technique-based. I saw good effort. I saw good competitiveness. I’m pleased with that. We watched the tape and we corrected things we thought were mistakes or something we have to clean up, and we highlighted the things that we did well. Today will be important to see how they respond to what we’re doing and go forward with a positive day.
Q: We know you’re taking the guys for a little bonding after practice today, what was the thought process there? Was it because you have the time to do it?
A: You know what, it’s a great opportunity just to be on the road together as a team. You don’t get a lot of time with the new rules of training camp to get out and do things in terms of team-building. It’s important at times we step away from the field and just get to enjoy each other as players, as coaches, as a team and get back and just laugh a little bit, smile a little bit, tell a couple of stories and have some friendly competition.
Q: How’s your golf swing?
A: Horrible. Look, if golf was baseball I’d be in the Hall of Fame. Three out of the 10, I’m going to stroke it. Other than that, I’ll get nothing.